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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
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beef farming

Two-thirds of suckler farmers open to cutting herd numbers, survey finds

The Irish Farmers Journal has found many would be interested in a Government-funded scheme for a reduction.

TWO-THIRDS OF SUCKLER farmers would be open to cutting their herd numbers according to a new survey.

An Irish Farmers Journal (IFJ) survey found they would be interested in a reduction if a Government-funded scheme was on the table. 

Agriculture has come under increasing pressure to reduce its emissions.

In the IFJ survey, 30% of 684 suckler farmers surveyed said they would definitely consider an exit package and a further 33% said they would “maybe” consider it.

The remaining 31% of suckler farmers declined to take part in a reduction scheme.

The results differ with a recent IFJ survey of dairy farmers which found just 9% of dairy farmers would exit the sector if a compensation package was right.

In the suckler farmer survey, interest was highest among older suckler farmers, with 66% of all those open to the scheme being older than 55.

The ratio of suckler farmers interested was also higher in Connacht and Leinster areas than it was in Munster and Ulster.

The Irish Farmers Journal noted that the findings come after farm organisations opposed a suckler package last year.

Counterparts in the dairy industry continue to discuss proposals for a reduction scheme for their sector, which has regularly been the most profitable of Irish farming.

According to Teagasc, the government’s agriculture and food development authority, the average dairy farm income last year was €150,884 – in stark contrast with average income of €9,408 for suckler farming. 

According to the Climate Change Advisory Council, in a report last year, it found that the suckler herd has decreased in recent years.

But the council said this has seen suckler cows be replaced by dairy animals, which have higher greenhouse emissions per animal. This change intensified since the lifting of milk quotas in 2015 which has allowed more expansion in the dairy sector.

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